TRUSTe Debuts 'We Don't Spam' Seal

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TRUSTe starts the first certification program today that assures consumers that marketers won't spam them when they submit their e-mail addresses online.

The nonprofit privacy certification organization announces the "We Don't Spam" seal at today's DoubleClick Email Solutions Summit in Denver. The seal verifies that the e-mail reputation and practices of marketers using it have been reviewed thoroughly and have met strict standards "that eliminate the threat of unwanted e-mail," according to TRUSTe.

"It is on the point-of-collection page, where [Web sites] collect e-mail addresses," said Fran Maier, TRUSTe executive director and president. "It makes a very strong statement that 'We Don't Spam.'"

The program is needed to rebuild online shoppers' trust, Maier said.

"Spam and other issues are getting in the way of e-commerce," she said.

By raising consumer trust in data collection practices, the program will help companies increase online registration rates, TRUSTe said. One business that tested the seal experienced a 7 percent rise in registrations.

DoubleClick, New York, a founding partner of the program, and Return Path, New York, the exclusive reseller of the seal, want their e-mail clients to use it.

"We are working very aggressively across our 1,000-odd clients to get them on the program," Return Path president/CEO Matt Blumberg said.

The verification system is important, Blumberg said, because "reputation systems really extend this model of authentication and accreditation as yet another way to help receivers differentiate good mail from bad mail. It provides consumers with a physical sign of who they can trust and not trust."

Ken Takahashi, vice president of strategic partnerships at DoubleClick, said the seal simplifies "what we've been talking about in the industry for years now."

The seal's cost to senders will be based on overall company revenue and volume of e-mail it sends.

"Smaller companies should be able to participate in this," Maier said.

The "We Don't Spam" program is part of an ongoing monitoring program, Maier said, so TRUSTe will monitor consumer complaints and enforce the seal.


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